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Why are some people able to learn things quicker and seemingly much easier than the rest of us? While it can be a combination of luck and genetics, for most people it’s because they have worked hard to boost their brainpower. Because just like every other muscle in our bodies, our brains also become stronger the harder we exercise our cognitive skills and the more we use our memory.
The good news is that there are a number of ways you can improve your memory function. Simply following these simple tips below can drastically increase your ability to learn, retain, and, most importantly, understand all the information you need to succeed in school, university, and life in the real world.
Play cognitive brain games
Stimulate and challenge your brain as much as possible in your spare time by playing brain games. Defined as any puzzle or activity that requires calculation, planning, and cognitive thought, brain games can help stimulate brain health by generating new synapses and neurons. This includes word-style puzzles like Scrabble or crosswords, card games like solitaire or bridge, as well as traditional games like chess or checkers.
While playing these types of board games can help exercise your memory muscles, they also have the added bonus of improving hand-eye coordination too. Ultimately, any of these games can provide the appropriate stimulus for the neurons in your brain which helps strengthen memory and improve your overall cognitive health. Many games are also low stress and have a calming effect too, which in turn can help lower blood pressure.
Engage in regular exercise
Regular exercise helps to boost your memory and cognitive abilities both directly and indirectly.
Indirectly, regular exercise helps you to sleep better, reduce stress and anxiety, and boosts your mood. Scientists have found that problems in these areas can cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.
On the other hand, exercise also directly boosts your brain. Engaging in a regular workout helps your brain to reduce insulin resistance. Also, it cuts down inflammation and triggers the release of Nerve Growth Factors (NGF). These are chemicals in the brain that boost the health and lifespan of brain cells. They are also responsible for the growth of new blood vessels in the brain.
But that’s not all. When you engage in a moderate to an intensive exercise program for at least six months, your brain grows in volume! Selected sectors of the brain (the prefrontal cortex and medial temporal cortex) are larger for people who exercise than those who don’t.
You can put it to the test. Get yourself a good fitness tracker, and start tracking your workout sessions. Two hours a week or 120 minutes of moderate to intense drills, like brisk walks, HIIT classes, spin classes, or any other aerobic exertions, should be enough to get your heart pumping and yield results. If you would prefer something else, consider moderate exercises like swimming or physical games that you enjoy like tennis.
Decrease your stress levels
When you experience chronic levels of stress, it can cause damage to your brain by increasing the production of cortisol hormones and disrupting the activity of neurotransmitters. Studies have shown that this makes it increasingly more difficult to not only access existing memories but also to create new ones. Thankfully, by engaging in meditation, yoga, tai chi, or anything else which gets you focused on your breathing, can help you strengthen and protect your brain. It’s also worth looking into a declutter of your environment. Simply practicing these mindful exercises and lifestyle activities for 15 minutes a day can boost your memory as well as improve your ability to focus.
Learn to do something new
One of the primary reasons people enjoy experiencing new things that they’ve never done before is because it creates new neural pathways while also producing dopamine which helps to stimulate your brain. You could try taking a new route home from work, but ditch the GPS and use a map to navigate instead. This is also good because it exercises the area of your brain which is responsible for identifying spatial connections.
Another good idea is to take a career skills course, because not only are you doing something new, you’re learning vital new skills that will help you in the workforce, or to find a new job. Simply by learning how to do something new, it fires areas of your brain that can change how it’s structured, provide you with laser focus, and even increase your overall level of intelligence.
Increase nutrition in your diet
Because nutrition obviously plays a significant role in your health, it shouldn’t be a surprise eating right also affects your brain health. Numerous clinical studies have shown that there are a number of foods that are excellent at boosting brainpower.
Fresh vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and other leafy superfood greens can really assist with increasing memory and recall abilities, whereas foods containing an abundance of antioxidants can not only keep the brain healthy, they can even help stimulate the production of new brain cells. Because it’s true, you really are whatever you eat.
Everyone wants to be able to increase their memory fitness and their general mental health. But you can’t just remove your brain and put it on a treadmill or an exercise bike. Thankfully, there are a number of real-world strategies which have been proven to help strengthen your overall mental acuities such as the ones above: eating healthy superfoods, stimulating your brain by learning something new, engaging in regular exercise, and cognitive games.
Used correctly and repeatedly, these techniques can effectively help you improve your memory skills, enhance your recall abilities, and increase the amount of information your brain can ultimately retain. Intelligence often comes from persistence and hard work, so make the effort to work harder, train your brain, and you’ll find your brain power increases and memory becomes better.